Decco2 as DAC/Preamp, split feed to good sub and better amp, amp to good speakers. Done!
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I have owned the Nova for the last 6 months. I am using it with Nola Boxers and Kimber 8tc cables in a 400 sq ft room. Sources are a Pioneer Elite CD player used as a transport, and an Apple TV as a server.My first impressions were just so-so. I could not get the bass to reveal itself. the Boxers are a small stand mount speak with a 6" mid/woofer, so I knew going in that I would not have wall shaking bass, but I expected better. After a few weeks, As I continued to move the speakers around, I finally hit the right spot in the room, and it was night and day. I now have adequate bass without a sub, and the mids and highs that the speakers are known for are truly excellent. My next move will be an amp, and i'm thinking bel canto.....
I've owned the original decco for quite a few years and have slowly updated my system around it. It's a really amazing integrated that also looks really excellent.
First off, I'm using it in my bedroom, so the acoustics don't require as much as a larger room. My various stages of change were as follows.
1. decco driving linn tukan speakers, good sound, not great soundstaging or bass but as a standalone integrated unit pretty easy to live with.
2. decco with a linn 5105 amp and linn tukans, the amp does the 200 watt
@ 4ohms lifting. The unit stays cooler as an obvious reflection of the reduced
work load and the bass has gone up and the sound stage has bloomed.
3. decco with 2 linn 5105 amps actively driving the linn tukans. The bass increased, the clarity on very loud volumes held up, the speakers become much more smoother and the soundstage tightened.
4. decco with 2 linn 5105 amps actively driving the linn tukans and a sizmik
subwoofer. Adding the sub made a huge difference. It was like the missing piece of the puzzle. Wide sound stage with depth, incredible musical bass, not boomy. Acoustic instruments have that texture. Effortless sound.
The decco is good enough to be able to reflect all of the changes I've made and keep up with them. On top of which you have several input formats to
choose and jacks to use, not to mention the excellent headphone section.
Spoiler alert, I did have peachtree do some cap upgrades and additions so
that I can run the system silently with headphones on.
Don't write off the earlier Decco, especially at the used prices that the units
can be found for.
I haven't owned nor heard any Peachtree gear long enough to have much insight. However, what I've repeatedly heard is that the amp section is what holds it back.
How about buying a power amp here on the 'Gon and trying it out? It's not an issue of needing more power IMO, but maybe you need cleaner and flatter frequency response type power. This can help be a first step into seperates, or it can possibly fulfill what the Decco's amp(s) is missing.
If you buy the right amp for the right price and it doesn't do what you want it to do, you could sell it for minimal/no loss. Again, don't think of it as your speakers need more power, think of it as your speakers should benefit from better power.
I have a Decco, and I was disappointed with the sound at first. Felt that it lacked dynamics, soundstage was muddled, and I wasn't very engaged when listenening in general. Also, my living room seemed to eat bass frequencies, except for in certain spots, where the bass could be heard and felt.
A few things have changed all that: First, I got a pair of Definitive Technology BP8020 floorstanding speakers, which each have active 150W subs built in. I modified my seating layout to place myself in the best listening spot. I upgraded speaker cables to AudioQuest Slates, which improved the sound as well.
But the biggest difference was made when I got a used Acurus DIA-100 passive preamp integrated solid state amp, and ran the Decco as DAC/active pre into it. Bam! Separated instruments, awesome, tight bass, and great improvement in frequency response balance from the Def Techs. The Decco 'warms' the sound just a bit, and the Acurus does the rest- clean, neutral, and smooth/ punchy at the same time, if you can believe that.
By the way, if your room is bass shy like mine, I would strongly consider getting the Def Tech speakers- two built-in subs in stereo are waaay better to me than my old Polk Audio PWS110 sub by itself. They really fill the room with bass.
The system's not perfect, but it's worlds better than when I was running the Decco straight into B&W 602 S2s and the Polk sub. I agree with the reviewers who felt that the Decco's chip amp was its weakest link.
I will second Loomisjohnson's recommendation. Try using the Decco as a preamp/DAC in front of the power amp of your choice. In my office, I have paired the Decco with a tube amp and it works very well. For use in an HT setup, it might be a bit more challenging because of the Decco's lack of a bypass circuit. How are you integrating the Decco into your HT system now?
I'll agree. I've got a Decco running some Rega RS5's along with a Gallo TR3 sub and it's mid-fi wonderful.
I'm about to swap out the Regas (and maybe the sub?) for some Decware ERR's (if they ever arrive, that is) - it's my attempt at a WAF/design-friendly, full-room sound, single-box system. Decco's been good for me...not the be-all/end-all by any means, but great sound without a lot of fuss.
I have found that subwoofers are the short cut to better bass.... regardless the equipment in place... the room... or the speakers.
Placement and dialing one in is the rest of that story.
Naturally, you can address bass from other avenues. Priamrily sources, amps, and speakers.
But subs remain the shortest path to better bass if only a single move is desired.